2015 AIR QUALITY SUMMARY

This annual report provides information on the air quality in Santa Barbara County for 2015.

In 2015, Santa Barbara County met the federal standards for all measured pollutants. The 8-hour ozone standard of 0.075 parts per million (ppm) or 75 parts per billion (ppb) was revised to 0.070 ppm (70 ppb) and the final rule became effective on December 28, 2015.

Santa Barbara County also met the California state standards for all pollutants except for the 8-hour ozone standard, the 24-hour particulate matter less than 10 microns (PM10), and the annual arithmetic mean for particulate matter less than 10 microns (PM10).

The state 8-hour ozone standard of 0.070 ppm (70 ppb) was exceeded on 2 days. The California state PM10 standard of 50 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) was exceeded on 15 days.

The California state arithmetic mean PM10 standard of 20 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) was exceeded at 5 of the 7 stations collecting PM10 data.

Detailed information about the ozone and particulate matter exceedances in Santa Barbara County can be found at: Summary of Days Exceeding Standards.

National and State Ambient Air Quality Standards

The Federal Clean Air Act (CAA) (Title 1, Section 109) requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prescribe national primary ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for certain air pollutants where public health criteria (protecting sensitive populations such as asthmatics) have been established. These pollutant levels were chosen to protect the health of the most susceptible individuals in a population, including children, the elderly and those with chronic respiratory ailments. A secondary standard is also prescribed to protect human welfare (visibility, crop damage, building damage). These pollutants are known as criteria pollutants.

The EPA currently has NAAQS for six criteria pollutants: ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), lead (Pb), and particulate matter including (PM10) and fine particulate matter (PM 2.5).

In addition to the EPA standards, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has set air quality standards for the same criteria pollutants and four others: sulfates, hydrogen sulfide (H2S), vinyl chloride (chloroethene, C2H3Cl), and visibility reducing particles.

Table 1 and Table 2 list the Federal and California standards applicable in 2015.

Figure 1 shows the locations of all monitoring stations in Santa Barbara County operating in 2015.

Air Quality Monitoring Station Status for 2015

In 2015, there were 18 monitoring stations operating in Santa Barbara County, of which eight were operated by the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD.) The remaining stations were operated by the CARB, and private industry. Table 3 lists the monitoring stations operating in Santa Barbara County during 2015 and the pollutants and parameters measured at each station. The Ellwood Odor monitoring station was granted a variance to temporarily suspend monitoring for one year during 2015 in order to relocate the site. The PM monitoring at the Santa Barbara station was temporarily suspended during 2015 due to access safety concerns.

Criteria Pollutant Summary

The pollutant data collected in Santa Barbara County during 2015 has been summarized and can be downloaded here (PDF file): Santa Barbara County 2015 Pollutant Summary. This summary contains tables of the following data:

  • The four highest 1-hour ozone concentrations measured during 2015.
  • The four highest 8-hour ozone concentrations measured during 2015.
  • The four highest 1-hour concentrations for NO2 for 2015.
  • The four highest 1-hour concentrations for SO2 for 2015.
  • The four highest 1-hour concentrations for CO for 2015.

Particulate Matter monitoring

Seven stations collected PM10 data in 2015. The seven stations used a PM10 Beta Attenuation Monitor (BAM) sampler running 24 hours a day and calculating real time hourly values for ambient PM concentrations. Four stations collected PM2.5 data using a PM2.5 BAM, collecting continuous hourly data.

The particulate data collected in Santa Barbara County during 2015 has been summarized and can be downloaded here (PDF file): Santa Barbara County 2015 Particulate Summary. This summary contains tables of the data listed below.

  • The two highest 24-hour PM10 (Local Temperature and Pressure) concentrations measured during 2015 and the annual 24- hour average.
  • The two highest 24-hour PM10 (Standard Temperature and Pressure) concentrations measured during 2015 and the annual 24-hour average.
  • The two highest 24-hour PM2.5 concentrations measured during 2015 and the annual 24- hour average.

Table 4 provides a summary of particulate monitoring by type and location.

This includes:

  • PM10 for continuous sampling to State standards
  • PM10 for continuous sampling to Federal standards
  • PM2.5 for continuous sampling to State and Federal standards

There were no stations in 2015 with measurements over the federal 24-hour standard of 150 µg/m3. There were 4 stations that measured a particulate level over the state 24-hour California standard of 50 µg/m3 during the year. The highest 24 hour value for 2015 (134 µg/m3) was recorded at the El Capitan station. There were also 5 stations that measured a particulate level over the California state annual arithmetic mean standard of 20 µg/m3 for the year. The highest annual arithmetic mean was at the Santa Maria station with a value of 24 µg/m3.

New in 2015

EPA changes to the NAAQS:

On October 1, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new eight-hour standard of 70 ppb for ground-level ozone, one of the principal components of smog. Read more about the new standard. The final rule took effect on December 28, 2015.

Monitoring station changes in 2015:

The LompocH PM 2.5 monitor was equipped with the correct firmware, accessories, and operational settings to qualify as a Federal Equivalent Method (FEM) for PM 2.5 on January 1, 2015.

The Total Hydrocarbon (THC) monitor was shut down at the El Capitan monitoring station on March 5, 2015. Data were submitted to the Air Quality System (AQS) database through December 31, 2014.